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Are You Referable? How Do You Know?

by Bill Cates

A couple years ago, after a speech, an advisor came up to me and said, “I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and I can probably count the number of unsolicited referrals I’ve received on two hands. What am I doing wrong?”

Unfortunately, I had to catch a flight and didn’t have time for the therapy session that would be needed to show this guy why he wasn’t as referable as he thought he was.

Many of my coaching clients have said, “My clients love me, but I don’t get many referrals.” My response is usually, “Well… let’s take a look at the ‘my clients love me’ part.

Unsolicited referrals are a barometer of your referability. Every business should get some unsolicited referrals. If not, then there’s something missing in the value connection and/or the personal connection.

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A study conducted by Julie Littlechild of “Client Engagement” out of Toronto, Canada, revealed that there’s a low correlation between client satisfaction and the giving of referrals. Who gives referrals, then?  Engaged Clients.

With your engaged clients, you’ve made both a value connection and a personal connection.

They truly appreciate the process of working with you, they trust you, and they like you. Remember, it is not your products that make you referrable. It’s the process of doing business with you that makes your clients want to sing your praises.

3 Parts to Your Client Journey

Breaking the client journey into three unequal parts, here are a few thoughts about increasing your referability:

  1. The Prospect Experience
    – Make a value connection by helping your prospect gain clarity with their current and future financial picture.
    – Make a personal connection by telling them your Client-Focused Why (why you truly believe in the work that you do – your mission).

  2. The New Client Experience
    – Make a value connection by mailing or emailing something of educational value to them and/or walk them through their first month’s statement.
    – Make a personal connection by taking them to lunch, inviting them to a client-appreciation event (virtual or in-person), or sending a small welcome gift tailored to one of their interests.

  3. The Ongoing Client Experience
    – Make a value connection by checking in with them periodically to ensure expectations are being met.
    – Make a personal connection by inviting them to a client-appreciation event (virtual or in-person) or taking them to lunch.

SHHH… Don’t tell anyone… The secret sauce to creating advocates for your business is establishing business friendships – where the communication and caring go a bit beyond the core work that you do.

Forward this article to a friend or colleague. And don’t forget ALL our resources – many of them free – are waiting for you at

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